Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Enough with plastic bags already!

Plastic bags are a real pain.
Can't live without a bag though....often we all need a bag to carry our things, move our shopping from the till to the cupboard, protect things, wrap things, throw smelly things away etc etc.
Recently I have been observing the 'frenzy' in the UK over a bag which Sainsbury has been selling called "Im not a plastic bag" bag. Apparently this is the hottest trendy thing to be seen carrying...all those ethical, eco-friendly consumers can proudly wander the streets parading their morals and showing how considerate they are to the environment by not using a plastic bag.

Wahey for them. Except on closer examination it's apparent that these bags are not quite so worthy....1) they are made in China; 2) they're not fairtrade; 3) there has been no attempt to ensure the materials used are environmentally sound; 4) because of the location of manufacture, they've most likely been brought over on a cargo plane, therefore emitting lots of carbon into our precious atmosphere.

Moreover thus, it looks as though Sainsbury has been cashing in on everyone's desire to be more environmentally conscious, at the expense of the environment itself! Wonders never cease. This article sheds a bit more light.

My mum (read her blog here if you like), alerted me to the fact that Modbury, a small village in Devon, has become the first town in Europe to stop using plastic bags. I found a more detailed article about this on Timesonline. The article is interesting and explains the rationale behind cutting down on plastic bag consumption. I will let the article do the talking as it will achieve this much better than me!

Some years ago, Eire introduced a tax on plastic bags which apparently cut down the use of plastic bags considerably. I myself lobbied my MP some years ago about doing this in the UK, to no effect unfortunately. I also emailed Tesco more recently and they said something very standard like 'thank you for your comments, they will be passed up to our special team who sit around making decisions and buckets of money in the process' etc rahrahrah....more likely passed up the electronic dustbin in cyberspace. Now why can't the UK be brave and do something like that? To change behaviour, you need to hit people where it 'hurts', where they will feel it, where it will make them think twice. A charge/tax will be most effective in this respect, I reckon.

I have my own reusable bag which I think is really funky, and practical. It folds up dead small when not being used, and is very pretty too with lots of lovely butterflies.So I guess that is a bonus. It was made in China :( but most things are these days.....at least I am not a total fashion victim, and I was doing this before it became the in-thing haha...?

Here's some piccies showing how cool and versatile it is. Before.....

My challenge to all my lovely readers, should you choose to accept it, is:

- Refuse a plastic bag whenever you can
- Buy a bag which you can reuse again and again. One which folds up small and isn't cumbersome is an ideal solution
- Anticipate the actions of shop assistants and say 'No bag, thank you' when they start to reach for one
- If you work in a shop, always ask first 'Do you need a bag?'
- Recycle your plastic bags...dont just throw them away!
- When you dispose of a plastic bag, do so carefully and considerably, for our lovely environment

If you have any other good ideas, please post them in the comments section.


barbara said...

Hi Abby,
France is very slow in stopping the distribution of plastic bags.
But, things are moving slowly but surely. In our neighborhood supermarket, it has now been almost 3 months since there is a "no free bag" policy.

Mea culpa... I admit to having accepted these bags. But, I always used them at home.It was time that these wicked habits stopped.

Très chic your reusable bag !
Take care & read you soon :)

Joyce Hopewell Astrological Psychology said...

I carry an "old fashioned" string bag in my handbag which folds down small but expands to cope with a load of shopping. Although these bags were around a lot when I was a small, this one is new & was bought from WWF to support their campaign to stop the use of plastic bags. These end up in seas & on beaches the world over & cause agonising deaths for turtles who eat them and albatrosses who become trapped in them.

seev said...

Thanks for reminding people, esp. me, about the dangers of using plastic bags. We are in too much of a hurry! We should get a bunch of cloth bags and just reuse them. Thanks for making us aware.

Oh, and thanks for looking at my blog, GreenAbby.

zee said...

Ab Fabulous! Me zee again.
hey, i noticed Tesco Garden Peas comes in one of those plastic bags that decompose in 4 years instead of the gazzilion years it usually takes. What i was wondering was why don't we all just use those bags. The bag felt just as 'plasticy' and as strong. Is it really expensive to produce or something? Help me Green Abby! A concerned yet still looking good with a furrowed brow reader...

zee said...

AbSoCute, another thing!
Whta do we do about Beau's poo. Jase needs all those plastic bags to pick them up.
please help.
a 'still looking hot' yet environmentally concerned reader...